Thursday, January 25, 2024

Centre County Master Watershed Steward Art Gover Earns Natural Resource Education Award

By Alexandra McLaughlin,
Penn State News

Have a question about managing invasive plants? Meet Art Gover. With 36 years of experience at Penn State as a researcher and educator in weed and vegetation management, Gover specializes in handling invasive species in natural settings. 

Now retired, he continues to share his expertise as a volunteer with the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program.

Gover, based in Centre County, recently earned the 2023 Natural Resource Education Champion Award from the PA Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

The award honors individuals or groups for their support and enthusiasm for natural resources extension education at the county, state or regional level in Pennsylvania.

“The award recognizes people and organizations outside of Extension that help us within Extension do our work,” said Travis Wingard, extension educator and Master Watershed Steward coordinator for the Pennsylvania Wilds region.

Gover expressed gratitude for the recognition.

“The award was very comforting and affirming,” Gover said. “I don’t think anyone in the natural resource management field is in it for the recognition of others, but having my efforts recognized by my peers was very uplifting.”

Gover joined the Master Watershed Steward program in spring 2022 to learn more about aquatic ecology, macroinvertebrates and water chemistry to match his skills and expand his exposure and knowledge.

“Volunteering gives me an avenue to stay more formally connected with my former Penn State colleagues in Extension and natural resource management,” he said. “The continuing education element was very appealing as well because it provides structure, expands on my experiences and helps me focus my volunteer efforts. I really enjoy learning more about the full range of the water cycle and meeting the people working to keep our water clean."

Since retiring from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Gover has continued to lend his expertise to nonprofits and state agencies. He also works as a part-time consultant in vegetation management.

“The number of professionals, volunteers and educators in Pennsylvania that Art’s career and volunteer work has touched and informed is simply beyond compare,” Wingard said.

As a volunteer, Gover dedicates a significant amount of time to the Penns Valley Conservation Association, for which he serves on both the board and the watershed committee.

“Water is the fundamental element of life,” Gover said. “Learning how to protect it is enriching, satisfying and produces tangible results. It’s a great way to meet great people.”

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward program was launched in 2013 to strengthen capacity for watershed protection by connecting resources and volunteers with county conservation districts and local environmental organizations.

The program provides extensive training in watershed management to volunteers who, in return, educate the community about watershed stewardship based on university research and recommendations.

Currently, 922 Master Watershed Steward volunteers are active across 42 Pennsylvania counties, contributing more than 144,000 lifetime volunteer hours and planting more than 75,000 trees.

Become A Master Watershed Steward

Anyone interested in becoming a Master Watershed Steward can learn more about the program on the Penn State Extension website.

(Photo: Art Gover and Cathryn Pugh, Forestry and Wildlife Extension Educator.)

(Reprinted from Penn State News.)

Related Articles - Watersheds:

-- PennVEST Invests $194.3 Million In 28 Water, Wastewater, Stormwater, Water Quality Improvement Projects In 20 Counties  [PaEN]

-- DEP Awards Susquehanna River Basin Commission $68.2 Million To Restore Severely Impaired Tioga River Watershed  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Awards $573,000 To 10 Projects To Protect Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone; $268,000 To 5 Projects To Protect Lake Erie Coastal Zone  [PaEN]

-- National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Now Accepting Applications For Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund Grants; Webinar Jan. 30; Project Coaching  [PaEN] 

-- Chester County Commissioners Approve New Integrated Water Resources Plan, Watersheds 2045  [PaEN]  

-- Mountain Watershed Assn. Files Petition To Designate Parts Of Donegal Township Unsuitable For Coal Mining In Westmoreland County  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State Extension - Farm Conservation Success Story Series: First Stop Westmoreland County - John Kitz's Mount Pleasant Farm  [PaEN] 

-- Save The Dates: Forest Health In-Person Briefing, March 12; Virtual Forest Health Briefing, March 14; Forest Snapshot; More! [PaEN]

[Posted: January 25, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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